Friday, September 23, 2011

Moroccan Lentil Vegetable Soup

Soup in progress!
As usual, I am reluctant to say goodbye to summer, but the darker skies and rain isn't always such a bad thing. After an exciting and very eventful summer and so far a ridiculously busy fall, a few days of rain and accepting that I've caught a cold is a great excuse to stay in and make soup.

Sprouted wheat with raisins, a perfect pairing
I bought the vegetables, broth, and tomato paste yesterday with the intention of making a classic American soup to soothe my sore throat, steam this cold out, and get some veggies down, especially since I'm eating for two now. I haven't been able to stomach any greens all week as this bug slowly started settling in. As I began to chop ingredients and toss them in the pot, I realized I wanted something with some flavor! I'm quite sure a Moroccan lentil vegetable soup in Morocco is nothing like this, but the spices are about right.  Despite my un-Moroccan combo of mirepoix, summer squash, and collards, this soup has a tangy, spicy Moroccan feel and and can fix up a boring soup recipe. If I had some winter squash, it would have gone into the pot in a heartbeat. Whole Foods had a gorgeous loaf of savory sprouted wheat bread that was woven with raisins and absolutely superb warmed up and served alongside this soup.

Enjoy a pungeant and flavorful pot of soup to welcome the first weekend of fall. This one is for the least adventurous to the most adventurous eaters. If you just aren't sure if Moroccan spices are your thing, then go light on them and keep the seasoning subtle. If you are feeling adventurous, go generous with the spices and cayenne. Welcome back, fall!

Typical spices combined for an exotic flavor blend!

Moroccan Lentil Vegetable Soup

3 T extra-virgin olive oil
3 T ghee (or more olive oil)

1 t ground turmeric
1 t ground cinnamon
1 t ground cumin
1/2-1 t cayenne pepper (or more)

1 t freshly grated ginger root
3 t freshly grated garlic cloves
2 medium onions, diced
4 stalks of celery, thinly sliced
4 medium carrots, thinly sliced
1 medium zucchini, sliced into 1/2 moons
1 medium yellow squash, sliced into 1/2 moons
6 crimini mushrooms, sliced
1 green bell pepper, diced
1 1/2 cups dried brown lentils, rinsed and sorted
vegetable broth or water or a little of both
1  6 oz can tomato paste
1 small bunch collard greens, roughly shredded
juice of 1 large lemon
2 t sea salt, or to taste
freshly ground black pepper

Heat oil and ghee in a large soup pot over medium heat add spices, ginger, and garlic and cook for one minute, stirring and releasing their fragrance. Add onion, celery, carrot, zucchini, squash, mushrooms, bell pepper, and any other veggies you feel like throwing in (Save leafy veggies for the end.).Add 1 1/2 cups brown lentils

Stir and cook for about 10 minutes and coating them in the seasoned oil. Add vegetable and/or water to cover by 2 inches. I typically use a 32 oz. Tetrapak, then add water to cover, if needed. Add tomato paste and season with a little salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium-low and simmer partially covered for 30 minutes or so, until veggies and lentils are tender and seasonings have married. Add shredded collard greens, or other leafy green and cook on low for 5-8 more minutes until wilted and incorporated.

Finish generously with lemon juice, sea salt, and pepper. I'm insane and like to put plain organic whole milk yogurt on everything and this soup is no exception. If you are craving a cooling garnish, it is awesome!

1 comment:

Deborah said...

ahhh, I can smell the aromas now! Sounds like the perfect warming balm for a rainy day.